Several years ago, Glen Sweetnam, director of the International, Economic and Greenhouse Gas division of the Energy Information Administration at the Department of Energy (DOE), announced that worldwide oil availability had reached a “plateau.” However, his statement was not made known through a major US mainstream media outlet. Instead, it was covered in France’s Le Monde.
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Less of What We Don't Need
Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.
The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates
Hospitals and pharmacies are required to toss expired drugs, no matter how expensive or vital. Meanwhile the FDA has long known that many remain safe and potent for years longer.
The box of prescription drugs had been forgotten in a back closet of a retail pharmacy for so long that some of the pills predated the 1969 moon landing. Most were 30 to 40 years past their expiration dates — possibly toxic, probably worthless.
But to Lee Cantrell, who helps run the California Poison Control System, the cache was an opportunity to answer an enduring question about the actual shelf life of drugs: Could these drugs from the bell-bottom era still be potent?
From Growth to Degrowth: A Brief History
With economic and financial globalization, the integration of the world markets is said to be what will achieve development, which often involves countries assuming massive debts and making huge payments to service them. These, in turn, drive forced growth to guarantee repayment. It is thus no longer about balancing the three pillars of sustainable development – growth, social justice and the sustainability of the planet – but rather entrusting the task of caring for society and the Earth to the economy and the market.
How Local, Grassroots Organizing Drove El Salvador’s Mining Ban
Amid a natural gas boom, could U.S. activists ever dream of a national ban on fracking? If it seems impossible, they should look to the south for inspiration.
On March 29, the small Central American nation of El Salvador passed a total ban on metal mining. The historic vote on the law was unanimous, bridging strong partisan divides, and was the culmination of more than a decade of activism, coalition building, and direct political participation by the people of El Salvador.
Planting the Seeds of Degrowth in Times of Crisis
We must look for man wherever we can find him. When on his way to Thebes Oedipus encountered the Sphinx, his answer to its riddle was: ‘Man’. That simple word destroyed the monster. We have many monsters to destroy. Let us think of the answer of Oedipus.
These words are from the Greek Poet Giorgos Seferis’ speech at the Nobel Banquet. Today they are more relevant than ever, as humanity fights against a ‘contemporary Sphinx’: the utopian ideal of an infinite growth defined by economic indicators and theories. This Promethean way of living has sustained the idea that increased wealth was the ‘one pill to cure them all.’
How Do You Degrow An Economy, Without Causing Chaos?
‘Houston, we have a problem’. On the one hand, there is growing acceptance among environmentally conscious people that rich nations and affluent regions of the global economy must dramatically reduce overall resource and energy consumption levels – that is, undergo a process of ‘degrowth’ – if humanity is to bring about a sustainable world order. On the other hand, we have a growth economy that cannot go two steps in this direction without causing huge economic and social problems.
And The Minds of Children Closed
Schools are still shills for our collective addiction to belief in technological fixes as a decent approach to addressing climate change issues. That’s one reason to home school, among many. But my informal survey of home schooling parents nationwide has revealed that virtually no one is teaching youth that only a no-growth vision of economics can possibly give us a shot at planetary survival. And so it goes, the three-way marriage between education, technology and the proverbial bottom line. Bottom of the barrel is more like it.
The Fallacy of Endless Economic Growth
The idea that economic growth can continue forever on a finite planet is the unifying faith of industrial civilization. That it is nonsensical in the extreme, a deluded fantasy, doesn't appear to bother us. We hear the holy truth in the decrees of elected officials, in the laments of economists about flagging GDP, in the authoritative pages of opinion, in the whirligig of advertising, at the World Bank and on Wall Street, in the prospectuses of globe-spanning corporations and in the halls of the smallest small-town chambers of commerce. Growth is sacrosanct. Growth will bring jobs and income, which allow us entry into the state of grace known as affluence, which permits us to consume more, providing more jobs for more people producing more goods and services so that the all-mighty economy can continue to grow. "Growth is our idol, our golden calf," Herman Daly, an economist known for his anti-growth heresies, told me recently.
“Peak Hats.” Social Change And The Coming Demise of Private Cars
If you look at images of people taken before mid 20th century, you’ll notice that almost everybody was wearing hats. In those times, people would often wear top hats or bowler hats, but by the 1920s, everyone was wearing the ubiquitous Fedora hat, as you can see in any gangster movie set in the 1920s and 1930s.
Our Obsolescent Economy
Steven Gorelick contemplates the role that planned obsolescence plays in the promotion of consumerism, and it's ecological effects.